I showed her a picture of the roses outside our front door. She breathed deeply into the phone and asked if I looked at them every day. “Yes,” I said. I could feel her smiling on the other end of the phone. She had taught me that – to pay attention to the details – be grateful for the little things, the impermanent things.
On Sunday evenings in our small apartment, the apartment where you couldn’t drink the water from the tap, we would lie by the record player (it was that big) and dream out loud of all the things we would do. She said, “If I had a big house, I would go from room to room. Not in a hurry. But slowly. And enjoy each space. I would read a different book in every chair. Sing a different song out each window. It would welcome me and it would feel glorious and I would belong – in every room.” I have that now, what my mother dreamed up (because I believe that’s what we do, for ourselves and each other – create the dreams, manifest them). And I am grateful. And I do belong. In every room. I claim the spaces with books and paintings and flowers and songs and love. And I am home.
I see the roses when I open the shutters each morning. I see them out the kitchen window as I make the coffee. I really see them. I appreciate them. (And yes, I stop to smell them.)
I was watching a YouTube video by Bryce and Hailey (a young couple from Alexandria, MN — my hometown, where my mom still lives). They were visiting all of the thrift shops and I went along with them. Each street. Each store. The last thrift shop they were in was about a block from my mother’s apartment. I watched the video again and again, willing them to go just that one block over and see her. See her waving out the window. Walking down the street. “She’s right there,” I kept telling the screen. Please go see her. I know she’s there.
I fill the coffee pot with water, smile at the roses, and dream up another beautiful day, because that is what I was taught to do.
I watch the video again and know she is there. I move from room to room and know she is here. A rose, by any other name.